The Landscape Photography of Nenad Saljic

… In order to understand the significance of the award-wining series of works by Nenad Saljic, in both an international as well as local context, we need to delve deeper into the history of photography itself, and landscape photography in particular, as its own autonomous genre. Landscape photography, which is at the center of the author’s work, stands out among other genres in photography precisely because it does not capture a moment in time or the fleeting nature of objects, which is characteristic of the medium as a whole, particularly for journalistic or life photography. Landscape photography, in complete contrast to those genres, doesn’t capture a moment, but rather the persistence and stability of a geological timeframe, which routinely transcends time for both the observer, and the photographer. It is by virtue of their convergence that many questions arise, which also transcend the common themes of photography, and introduce wholly new concepts for perception and analysis, the psychological and metaphysical concepts in defining time, and the concept of lasting and temporality. This is also true of the geocosmic time present in the photographs of Nenad Saljic, which routinely showcases not only stars or massive rock formations, but also temporal weather conditions.

Landscapes such as this, once photographed, have an almost therapeutic effect upon the observer. For those of us who’ve not physically scaled mountains, particularly not at night, these photographs offer the opportunity of photographically facilitated meditation in nature, at a somewhat lesser, and thus less intimidating, scale, as well as an experience devoid of the physical and climatic hardships that the author might have encountered.

… Namely, landscape photography doesn’t portray just the landscape itself; rather, as can be seen in Saljic’s work, it also includes the complex relationship between author and object. The author faces objects of remarkable longevity, as would an observer, which allows him to reevaluate his own importance and temporality. The impact of such emotions is often visible on the photographs themselves, and we encounter melancholic and dour, calming, terrifying or even enticing landscapes. These landscapes clearly appear as subjects in their momentary interaction with the photographer, i.e. the observer. The author faces them alone, in evident silence, often at night… seemingly without fear.

… Judging from the photographs of Nenad Saljic, who follows the ways of past photographers by going on expeditions to far and foreign mountain spaces, in which he mostly works at night, in a world of ecocataclysm, the relationship between man and landscape remains, in a way, an unchangeable form of communication, a place of contemplation and communication. The poetic and mystical, far and frightening, changing and simultaneously lasting mountain massifs in these photographs communicate precisely that warning which they communicated several hundred years ago, of the transient nature of man, while simultaneously being critical of civilization itself, which, while not portrayed in the photographs themselves, becomes a background motif for them.

Ana Peraica, Ph. D.
Fotografija, No 60-61, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Book: Birth of a Ship, Nenad Saljic

Birth of Ship cover by Nenad Saljic
Photographer Nenad Saljic’s book Birth of a Ship begins like a traditional fairy-tale; a piece of poetic prose sets the scene. We learn that in a feat that feels akin to a production of Noah’s Ark, an idea of a building a boat was formed and the bones of it began to take shape soon after. Documenting the developing construction, the images that form Birth of a Ship are interweaved with geometric curved line across white pages, with poetry. This poetry is written by Miki Bratanic; these nautical nuances placed between the pages lend further spirit to the photographs.

It is a deviation from the work we are used to associating with Nenad; stunning landscapes of peaked cliffs, caves and expansive skies; but his interest in texture and natural fibre is nonetheless prevalent within these images. Namely, his ability to create high-contrast black and white photographs with high definition and detail has developed to become a signature aesthetic. The grain of the material; the wood, the metal surrounding hanger – are felt through this keenly represented texture.

[Read more…]

2013 Sony World Photography Awards

A Portrait of the Matterhorn

© Nenad Saljic, 1st Place, Landscape, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

 

I have a long affiliation and appreciation of this statuesque mountain but this image, indeed the whole series (A Portrait of the Matterhorn) by Nenad Saljic, is masterful in showing this beautiful colossus with its own personality and moods. The photographs are exquisitely shot and remind one of the works of the American photographer Ansel Adams, the father of black and white environmental photography.

Honorary Judge Francesca Sears on her favorite images
2013 Sony World Photography Awards

Nenad Saljic’s Mountain Memento

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Night Clouds #5, 2012

Nenad Saljic is a Croatian artist who discovered his twin passions for photography and mountaineering early, while still in primary school. Looking at his impressive prints, it will not surprise you to know that he was almost expelled from school for spending too much time in the darkroom.

Saljic uses long exposures that condense time, creating records of the movement of the wind, water and trees, where light and shadow meet in a tremendous, blissful moment. Saljic writes: “Being mountaineer and caver from a very early age brought me to some magnificent destinations where human footsteps have rarely or never been before. The feeling is amazing and hardly explicable by words. I want my images to convey exactly that kind of transcendent experiences, to take the viewer into my deepest emotional journeys. I¹d like you to feel like traveling Jules Verne’s voyages when looking at my pictures; to make the impossible possible.”

By Rebecca Horne
Wall Street Journal Photo Editor
Lux Archive Blog

Friday feature: Nenad Saljic

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A Church Inside a Church #1, 2010

I first came across Nenad Saljic’s work when he won the Gold Award in B&W’s 2011 Singe Image Contest. His image ‘A Church Inside a Church #1, Drvenik Veliki, Coroatia, 2010’ (above) is a stunning image full of symbolism: a prominent silhouetted cross, the overhead sweeping heavens and a slightly elevated composition that suggests we have ascended ‘above’.

The starburst sets a mystical, evangelical overtone; the open gate invites us to pass through (over?) and enter this centred, meditative space. It’s universal, it’s bigger than us. And perhaps better.

Nenad Saljic produces images that seem concerned with overt spiritual messages and inspirations; his recent 2011 work such as ‘Walk the Line’ also connotes mysticism. There’s a force of nature captured so strongly its significance is reflected in its overt presence. Big fat thumbs up.

Eighteen39 by Dawn Schuck
In Features on June 24, 2011